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Asplenium australasicum, commonly known as the ‘Bird’s nest fern’, is native to Australia’s east coast from Cape York in Queensland down to the south coast of New South Wales. The common name derives from its large, nest-shaped rosette of light-green, slightly leathery radiating fronds and its ability to grow on trees due to is shallow root system. In its natural habitat it’s found in moist and sheltered forests where it grows on trees or rocks but is happy to grow in urban settings in protected gardens and also indoors. Bird’s nest ferns have a striking upright vase shape which adds structural interest and with green fronds reaching up to 1.5 m long can create a wonderful garden focal point.


How to grow birds nest ferns in a garden

  1. Choose a place in the garden that gets part shade to filtered sun and is protected from the afternoon sun. Prepare the planting area well by digging in Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser.
  2. Dig the planting hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the root-ball. Remove the plant from the container, gently tease the roots.
  3. Position in hole and backfill with soil, gently firming down. Form a raised or doughnut shaped ring of soil around the outer edge of the plant's root zone. This helps keep water where it's needed.  Always water in well after planting to settle the soil around the roots and keep the soil moist for several weeks while the new plant establishes.
  4. Mulch around the base with organic mulch or leaf mulch, keeping it away from the base of the plant.
  5. Water deeply, once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions, until established. 
  6. Feed occasionally and lightly with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser by placing it directly into the centre of the fern.
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How to grow birds nest ferns in a pot

  1. Choose a pot that is at least twice the size of the selected plant. Position in the garden that receives part shade to filtered sun and is protected from the afternoon sun.
  2. Fill the pot with quality potting mix, such as Yates Potting Mix with Dynamic Lifter.
  3. Remove the plant from the container, gently tease the roots.
  4. Position in hole and backfill with potting mix, gently firming down. Water in well.
  5. Mulch around the base with organic mulch or leaf mulch, keeping it away from the base of the plant.
  6. Water deeply, once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions, until established. 
  7. Feed occasionally and lightly with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser by placing it directly into the centre of the fern.

Growing tips

  • Prune back any damaged or dead fronds from the base of the plant to maintain its upright appearance.
  • Can be propagated by cutting through the centre of the crown with a saw. This is best done in Autumn when the weather is cooler.
  • Birds nest ferns look at home in both tropical or rainforest themed gardens and make a beautiful leafy indoor potted plant or inclusion in a vertical green wall. They can also be used in kokedama (Japanese moss ball) creations where they look delightfully like a pineapple!
  • Moist, well-drained soil is a must for these ferns and they prefer a full shade or partly shaded spot that is protected from frost, strong winds and harsh afternoon sun. They can be grown in cool zones if a protected microclimate can be created. The fern gully in the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra is testament to the ability of bird’s nest ferns being able to be grown in cold areas if the right conditions exist.
  • Australian native plants like bird’s nest ferns can be given a feed each spring and autumn with Yates® Dynamic Lifter® Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser, which gently releases organic nutrients to promote healthy fern growth. Yates Dynamic Lifter will also add rich organic matter to the soil, which improves the quality of the soil and attracts beneficial earthworms and soil microorganisms.

    Water ferns regularly and mulching around the root zone with organic mulch, like bark chips, will help keep the soil moist and also add valuable organic matter to the soil as it breaks down.

 


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